Clinical Trials

A clinical trial is a research study designed to determine the safety and effectiveness of a new cancer treatment.  They're a critical step in the development of effective, new treatments.

You may be a candidate for a clinical trial if you have recently been diagnosed with ocular melanoma, though many of the trials are open only to patients with high risk (i.e. Type 2) genetic profiling.

Cancer research allows researchers to assess the study’s risks, side effects and superiority to existing treatments and is carried out only after the treatment is determined safe and effective in laboratory and animal studies. 

Types Of Clinical Trials

​Depending on the goals of the research, there are several different types of clinical trials:

> Prevention trials look for better ways to reduce the risk of cancer in people who have never had it or to prevent a cancer from coming back. These methods may include medicines, vitamins, vaccines, or lifestyle changes.

> Screening trials test the best way to detect cancer.

> Diagnostic trials try to find better tests or procedures for diagnosing a particular cancer.

> Treatment trials test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, new ways to deliver treatment, or new approaches to surgery or radiation.

> Quality-of-life trials (or supportive care trials) explore ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for people with cancer.

Trials are also broken out by Phase:

> Phase I trials are the first studies to test a new drug or drug combination in humans and are designed to establish drug safety. These studies are generally only open to individuals with advanced cancer. 

> Phase II trials evaluate drug effectiveness and involve more participants than Phase I studies. 

> Phase III trials are designed to compare a new treatment to one or more standard treatments and are usually randomized, meaning participants are randomly divided into treatment groups and not told until the study is over whether they received a standard treatment or the new treatment.

According to CancerCares, a very small number of adult patients take part in clinical trails -- as few as three to five percent -- versus the large number of children with cancer. So there is a large effort to help people understand the importance and benefits of clinical trials. Researchers are also reaching out to include more members of minority groups and the elderly in clinical trials.

Finding the Right Trial For You

New trials are continually coming out, so your oncologist may not always be aware of all the trials available. Therefore, patients are encouraged to conduct their own research. Before searching for a clinical trial, it is important to know the details of your diagnosis. Your genetic type (Class 1A, 1B, 2) can be an important determining factor of your eligibility for certain trials.

OMF encourages you to use the AACR-SU2C Clinical Trials Finder, a free and confidential cancer clinical trial matching and referral service.  Their database contains approximately 8,000 clinical trials in the United States and Canada, including SU2C Dream Team trials.
And here is an excellent overview entitled 'Navigating Clinical Trials' from Tony Hursey, MPH,
Director of the Clinical Trials Office at Georgetown University Medical Center.  He presented these at OMF's 2012 Eye Am Not Alone (EANA) Patient Conference in Washington, DC.

Clinical Trials for High Risk OM Patients

Source: U.S. National Institutes of Health ClinicalTrials.gov. Uveal melanoma clinical trials database at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Accessed Oct. 13, 2013.

Learn More About Cancer Trials

> Search ClinicalTrials.gov database for current uveal melanoma trials

AACR Clinical Trials Navigator

1-877-769-4829

8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST
Monday through Friday

American Cancer Society Clinical Trials Matching Service

1-800-303-5691

Other Resources

CancerCare 
800-813-HOPE (4673) 
www.cancercare.org

American Cancer Society 
800-227-2345 
www.cancer.org

Cancer.Net 
888-651-3038 
www.cancer.net

Melanoma International Foundation 
866-463-6663 
www.melanomaintl.org

Melanoma Research Foundation 
877-673-6460 
www.melanoma.org

National Cancer Institute 
800-422-6237 
www.cancer.gov